Archive for the ‘Ice Crown Citadel’ Category

That Last 20%   13 comments

Last night after our 25 man raid, our 10 man group got back together for some more HM LK pulls. We had roughly 90 minutes of time before our Disc Priest had to go to work. This is the first time ever that we’ve gotten back to back pulls on this encounter without having at least a week in between pulls. Every week we’ve had progression, but last night we had something new: consistency. The morale of our raid, including mine, from Sunday night to last night got a huge (much needed) boost.

We took a total of 7 pulls, and 5 of those 7 made it into the final phase. This isn’t the first time we’ve made it into this phase, quite the contrary we’ve been here sporadically over the past 3 or 4 weeks, but this is the first time we’ve pushed into the phase consistently. We had 5 pulls in a row where we made it into that final phase. And of those 5 pulls, only one of them fell apart because someone (or three someone’s, to be exact!) died during harvest soul. Hell, we are making it through several Harvest Souls even!

So, what is killing us? Vile Spirits.

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What Makes the Lich King Important to You?   4 comments

A little while back I asked the questions “what’s in a title”; the discussion that followed was regarding people’s feelings on selling Kingslayer titles. There was a lot of good conversation as people shared their opinions on how they felt about “selling” a title. I had brought the topic up because as a guild, we were discussing whether or not we wanted to offer Lich King kills. We had been approached several times from players outside of the guild asking if we were ever going to do this.

Ultimately, we decided that we didn’t want to sell titles, but we liked the idea of offering experiences for those who may not have an opportunity to have them. So, ultimately, we decided to do this (copied from my post on our realm forums):

“Arthas and the Lich King have been a pinnacle of Warcraft lore long before Blizzard introduced WoW, the lore rich and intriguing. It’s my belief that part of what made this expansion work so well were how the stories wove together and immersed the player into their history. Every action had a reason (we will just forget about ToC…), and you were part of the story. The end of this expansion includes an epic battle with one of Warcraft’s most notorious, and loved, villains.

We are also aware, based on the number of people that have spoken to us, that even after all of the story, all of the lore, not everyone has the opportunity to experience the final showdown with Arthas.

Because we recognize the importance that Arthas plays in WoW lore, and because we’d like to offer something back to the server community that we have been part of for going on six years now, we have decided to offer the experience of facing Arthas in his final days.

Now, to be clear, we aren’t going to “sell” Lich King titles. We aren’t particularly interested in your gold. We are freely offering the opportunity to meet Arthas in his final playground.

If you don’t want our gold, what’s the catch? (I can hear you thinking it!)

Well…you will have to tell us why you want to kill the Lich King. You can do this in any number of ways: a short essay, a piece of fan fiction, a short comic, or a role play story are all acceptable submissions! Regardless of your method, what you need to convey to us is what makes killing the Lich King important for you.

We don’t care about your gear, your gear score, or how amazing a player you are. What we do care about is why it is important for you to kill the Lich King. Creativity is encouraged!

Each week, we will look at our current, and past, submissions and select up to two people to join us to kill The Lich King.

(hint: because you want a Kingslayer title isn’t going to get you a raid invite!).

There are a few things that you will need to know should you be selected to join us:

Vent will be required, this is non-negotiable. You will not need to speak, but will be required to listen.

We will give you one opportunity to truly experience and be an active participant in the encounter (do your research!), however should you cause a wipe, (defile us to death!) we will suicide you on any subsequent pulls where you can still see the fight in its entirety, but you will not be an active participant in the kill.

Ok, sounds great! Where do I sign up?!?!

There are two ways to enter submissions for a chance to join us: send a PM to Beruthiel on the Monolith forums (monolithllane . Be sure that you include your character’s name and a way for us to contact you, along with your submission.

Please note that making a submission does not guarantee that you will be selected to join us. We will contact you should you be selected to arrange a time. Hounding us will only ensure that your submission is not selected.”

We thought it would be cool to offer the opportunity to kill the Lich King to someone who really wants to see him dead, not just for a title, but for a more compelling reason. The guild is largely very excited about it, and thinks it’s very cool. I think everyone is looking forward to seeing some submissions. (Hopefully we get some!).

But, then that got me thinking, well I wonder what the Lich King means to others? I certainly know that for me it was some closure to one of my all time favorite story lines in the Warcraft Universe. And while I loved this expansion for the lore, and certainly the Lich King was a part of that, his demise was more than that too. It was another statement of survival for my guild. We came, we survived, and we kicked some ass. It was a statement to our tenacity. Well, at least I felt that way!

I am happy about our decision to offer experiences to others. While they may not have to suffer through the 100+ pulls it takes to learn to deal with defile, they will have to “earn” the kill in another way: proving to us that it’s important to them. And you know, that’s OK. Personally, I’m happy to offer what I would hope is a very memorable experience for someone. And it’s my hope that when they look back on their WoW adventure and they’d remember this experience fondly, and that it would be something that stuck in their mind as part of their WoW memories.

So, how about all of you? What does killing the Lich King mean to you? If you were on my server, would you participate in our little contest? How would you enter your submission?

What’s In A Title?   16 comments

Over the past few months I have received a number of queries from members of our server’s Horde Faction regarding whether or not we, Monolith, were (or would be) offering to sell Lich King titles, as was being done on the Alliance. When I started getting the queries a few months back, I opened it up to the guild on if this is something that they wanted to offer or not. There was some discussion on it, with people on both sides of the fence on the matter, and ultimately it was decided that it was not something that we would offer at that time.

However, I continue to receive queries from people seeking to experience the Lich King, and are desperately willing to do whatever it takes to do so.

Today, someone opened the thread back up for discussion in the forums, so I have been giving it more thought again.

The last time that we discussed this, there were three big arguments against doing so:

1) If people want the title they should earn it. To offer to “sell” it belittles the achievement of all those that spent the time to learn the encounter.

2) Once the buff reaches 30% everyone will be steamrolling Lich King anyhow, and PuGs will be killing good ol’ Arthas with no trouble. It will be available to people if they wait.

3) We, as a guild, need to clean up our performance on the encounter (so as not to embarrass ourselves) before we consider offering this as an option to the server.

I think all three of these concerns/commentaries are viable objections to the question “Do we want to fill this gap” at the time the question was discussed. Two months have passed since we discussed this as a guild; and because I’m still getting queries, I wanted to go back and explore this a little more.
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Hard Mode Sindragosa (with Resto Druid Tips!)   7 comments

When we scheduled our Hard Mode kill order for our 25 man progression team, we placed Sindragosa last…right before Lich King. To be perfectly honest, we were simply dreading the encounter.  After struggling for weeks with Hard Mode Putricide we were a little anxious going into Sindragosa, and worried about how we would handle the intricacies of the encounter.  However, I am sometimes surprised at our adeptness for certain things. As it turns out, when using a K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) strategy for the fight, it isn’t quite as bad as you’d think!

Now, I know that the fight has been around for quite some time.  I know that the first kill was months ago.  However, there just aren’t a lot of strategy discussions out there for people looking for tips on dealing with the encounter in Hard Mode, which is still a bit of a challenge even with the ICC buff.  As such, I thought I’d share our relatively simple approach to the encounter.

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There Are Certain Things That You Will Always Remember   6 comments

There will always be boss kills that you will remember, for whatever reason.  There will always be that rush for killing something new and challenging.  Some will stay in your mind longer than others, but as time wears on, you will think back and recall certain things and laugh at the memories.

Tonight was one of those nights for me.  We have a standing joke about “Monolith Tradition” when it comes to killing a new boss.  You know, get it down to 1% then fumble a bit before managing to eek the kill out.  Of course, the other part of that tradition is frequently killing a boss with just a few people left standing, with everyone else sitting with bated breath as they wonder if those remaining will finish the fight.

Last week we saw Hard Mode Sindragosa at 3%.  One of the final encounters in the expasion for us, and one that has been touted to be one of the more difficult fights in the game.  Tonight, we saw her at 1%.  And finally dead.  Of course, she died with no tanks left standing, and DPS trying to squeeze out as much as possible before she turned and killed them, and the rest of the raid biting their nails screaming “MORE DOTS!!!!”.  And when all was said and done, it was a perfect kill.  Well, technically not “perfect”, but certainly one that will be rememberd down the road as we continue into Cataclysm.

We may not be “first” and we may be “months behind”, but I don’t think I could have traveled this road with a better bunch of people.  And that is something I will always remember.

ICC Mount

Posted July 14, 2010 by Beruthiel in Ice Crown Citadel, Raiding

The Fury of the Vengeful Shade   3 comments

Dear Vengeful Shade, how I loathe thee. Let me count the ways!

If you guessed that I’ve started working on Hard Mode Lady Deathwhisper, you’d be right! We spent about 3 hours on Wednesday night with the fine lady, and another 2.5 last night with her. It was a learning experience, for what is proving to be our biggest challenge in Ice Crown Citadel (outside of the Lich King) to date.

Our first night of attempts was largely spent working through actually getting to phase 2, which required a fair amount of tweaking to our strategy, and by the end of the night we were getting there fairly regularly. But we were rough on the transition from phase 1 to phase 2. Even so we still saw roughly 60% on our first night. We had 37 vengeful shade explosions.

In our second night of attempts we were fairly successful in making it to phase two, and by the end of the night had smoothed out the phase 1 to phase 2 transition. We saw somewhere around 55% in our best attempt. We had 69 vengeful shade explosions. However, it should be noted that we made it into phase 2 significantly more than the prior evening.

Now, you may think that is no big deal…because in normal mode, it really isn’t. But the fine lady, in her heroic iteration, has her takes out her vengeance not only on the player that the shade hits, but on everyone within 20 yards of that player. And that vengeance is to the toon of 20k damage!

Just because I need a sounding board and need to think through my thoughts, let me walk through what’s working for us, what’s not and what changes I think we are going to make next week with her. I do think with just a little more tweaking we will be set for a kill.

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To Buff or Not to Buff…   12 comments

That is indeed the question.

Unless you’ve been living under a virtual rock, you are probably aware that Hellscream’s Warsong (and some alliancey named, but far less cool sounding, version from Wyrnn) have been added into Ice Crown Citadel as of yesterday.

I am a little bit torn about this.  I mean, I knew that the instance was “self nerfing”, but I guess I sort of thought that the buff wouldn’t be active quite so soon.  I mean, my guild has only gotten 2 nights of solid Lich King work in the 25s (and 2 nights in the 10s as well!).    Granted, we aren’t a cutting edge progression guild, but we certainly aren’t a slouch of a guild either, generally falling within the top 3-5% of guilds in the world as far as 25 man progression is concerned.

Why does it bother me?  Because I know that as a guild we don’t need this buff to kill the Lich King.  We just needed more time to work through the mechanics of the fight.  Our DPS is fine.  Our tanking is fine.  Our healing is fine.  We just needed time.  That’s it.  I suppose that perhaps I feel that by using the buff, my first kill is going to feel tarnished.  Dirty.  I’m always going to know that we could have done it without the buff.

However, now that the buff is here, we have a decision to make:  To buff or not to buff.

While my moral high ground is screaming at me in my head to shun the buff in all it’s 5% glory, giving it a proper two finger salute, and say “we’ve come this far without you, we can finish without you”, my realism is also screaming at me.  “Sure, you can do it without, but why make it harder than it needs to be?  Why not access your Hard Modes sooner?”.

In all honesty, who is going to know that we didn’t use the buff other than us?  Now that it’s out, I am sure that the assumption is going to be that anyone who killed the Lich King after 03/02/2010 did so with the added benefit of the zone wide buff.  Of course…I will still know if I did it with or without  help.  But, I am also one of a team of many, and I am sure that my feelings on the matter are different than others.

My moral dilemma aside, at this point it truly almost seems detrimental to our guild as far as progression goes not to use the damn thing.  If it means we kill the Lich King even one week sooner, it means that we will have access to our hard modes sooner, which of course means more progression for us, which in turn boosts guild morale (at least theoretically).  And I guarantee you that a good number of guilds out there won’t be having this internal discussion, and are happy to see the free boost to their performance.  So now if we opt to stick to our morals does it put us at a detriment?  Probably, as I suspect most guilds will not be opting out of the buff.

It seems to me that it puts a good number of folks in a bit of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, situation.

So, what will we end up doing?  It’s still up in the air a little bit, as we’ve opened it up to discussion for our raiders to give their two cents on the matter.  But I will say that the overwhelming number of people who have responded have said “buff it and get to hard modes”…so I imagine that is likely what we will be doing.  While I am a little disappointed, there is a lot of good sense in using the buff as well, and I’m not so foolish as to not see that.

So how about you?  Will you be using the buff or turning it off?

Posted March 3, 2010 by Beruthiel in eh?, Ice Crown Citadel, Raid Leadership, Raiding

On Limited Attempts (or lack thereof!)   15 comments

Just last night, after a night’s worth of work on BQL, I turned and looked at Brade and asked “do you think we will get more than 20 attempts this week?”.  His response was that he felt it was unlikely.  I tended to agree with him.  However, when I woke up this morning, and began poking about in my usual morning routine, I saw it screamed from a number of places:  Limited Attempts on Normal Mode ICC bosses have been removed.

I will get to my thoughts on their removal in a minute, but before I did that I wanted to point out a comment from the blue post that I find intriguing:  ” especially since the Heroic difficulty has been unlocked by a significant number of raids.”  Why do I find this intriguing?  Because the last time I checked 25 man progress, only somewhere around 15 guilds in the world had killed The Lich King.  I’m sure that number is higher in 10 mans, artificially inflated by the swarm of 25 man guilds that ran multiples of 10 mans, on mains and alts, to get practice in for their 25 mans; but I doubt the number is much higher if you look at the strict 10 man progress. 

I guess what baffles me is that Blizzard apparently considers 15 guilds a “significant number”.  Actually, my guess is that they don’t really consider that number to be significant at all and would have preferred to keep the limited attempts much longer.  My guess is that they had an issue having the attempt counter differentiate between normal and hard mode attempts, and it wasn’t “working as intended” which would cause issues for guilds that wanted to work hard modes, and clear the zone each week.  Ultimately, I think the limited attempts were removed because of a programming problem that Blizzard couldn’t resolve, or perhaps thought they had more time to resolve.  Again, this is just my speculation going here, so don’t take anything for gospel!  It’s just what I think.

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Posted February 9, 2010 by Beruthiel in Ice Crown Citadel

Healing Valithria Dreamwalker as a Resto Druid   15 comments

(aka yes, you can be competitive with your paladins!)

Last night we knocked out Valithria in our 25 man.  We had an inordinately large amount of trouble with this encounter, for reasons I’m not sure I quite understand yet, but in the end we found a method that worked for us and got the job done 🙂  I will try to get at least some form of a parse up for you all to view, I had wanted to do so with this post, but the problem I have is that because I went down into the portals, every time I took a portal and came back it records as a fresh parse in WoL, which means that for the night it will look like we wiped 200 times!  (does anyone know how to fix this?).

However, I did want to get out a few tips that I found were very helpful for me last night in hopes that those working on the encounter will find them useful!  I also want to say that you should not let your raid tell you that you are not a good healer for the dragon on this fight, because that is just bollocks!  I was extremely competitive with every healer that went down into the portals, and I almost always topped their healing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted February 4, 2010 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Ice Crown Citadel

Getting GRID Ready for ICC’s Frostwing Halls   12 comments

The newest wing of ICC releases today, and with it the healing fight!  Woooooooooo!  Eat your heart out DPS, a fight that is finally NOT about you!  Needless to say, I am really looking forward to it 🙂

As always, In my efforts to prepare for the new encounters, I will again be adding buffs and debuffs to Grid that I think will help me on my way.  Please keep in mind that this is all speculative at this time, so you should be flexible and amenable to making changes to your raid frames as you learn new things about the encounters. I will try to update mine as I experience the encounters and have feedback to add. (Again, I’d like to refer you to Kae’s excellent walkthrough on adding debuffs to GRID, if you need assistance with adding debuffs).  Also please keep in mind these are largely healer-centric!

Valithria Dreamwalker – Because this fight is very healer-centric, there isn’t a whole lot going on that needs to be cleansed, cured, etc.  But I did come across a few things that you may want to consider adding in.

  • Emerald Force – This one is probably more important for raid leaders to know about.  This one may also be a “buff” and not a “debuff”.  This is what your healers will receive in the emerald dream phase (after taking the portal).  They will get it from breaking the clouds.  It allows them to regenerate 200 mana every 3 seconds, increases their damage done by 10% and increases their healing done by 10%.  It will stack up to 20 times and lasts for 35 seconds.
  • Corrosion – This is going to be a DoT that is caused by the blistering zombies.  Those affected will suffer 2500 nature damage every 3 seconds and their armor will be reduced by 10%.  This can stack up on a player up to 5 times!  I suspect that it will be cleansable, but I am not certain.  Either way, we need to be aware of it!
  • Lay Waste – This will be caused by the blazing skeletons, if they are not killed quickly enough, and I’m not entirely certain that it is a debuff that can be tracked at all.  However, it does significant damage (~6k every 2 seconds for 12 seconds).  I believe that it is going to be a buff that the actual mob receives.
  • Gut Spray – This is a nasty debuff given by the Gluttonous Abominations.  It is a conal effect that will cause ~3k nature damage every 3 seconds and increases physical damage taken by 25% for 12 seconds.  This should be a debuff that is only on your tanks, and will be something that their healers need to be aware of dealing with.  However…with beacons from paladins healing Valithria, it likely going to be a non-issue while those healers are active and not in the emerald dream.
  • Acid Burst – Simalarly to Lay Waster, I am not sure if this is something that is going to be trackable.  This is caused by the Blistering Zombies, and it happens when they blow up.  It will cause ~15k nature damage on the explosion, and will cause ~1k a tick per second for everyone within 15 yards.

Sindragosa – The queen of the frost worms….and does she ever look like a lot of fun!  Similar to Saph, Sindragosa is going to have a raid wide aura that will tick for ~4500 damage every 3 seconds.  And druids of the world rejoiced!

  • Frost Breath (?) – This is a conal ability done by Sindragosa to your tanks (or anyone foolish enough to be in front of her!).  It causes 37k-43k frost damage and reduces movement speed by 15% and attack speed by 50%.  It may stack.  It is important for healers to know if a tank is affected by this, and which tank has it (if you decided to two tank her).
  • Chilled to the Bone – Physical dps will be affected by “Permeating Chill” which gives their melee attacks a 20% chance to cause this debuff.  While they are chilled to the bone, they will receive 1k damage every two seconds for 8 seconds.  This debuff will stack, so after they receive say 4 or 5 stacks, they will need to stop DPS and let their stacks reset!
  • Unchained Magic (?) – This causes the ranged DPS to have their spells “backlash” with instability after 8 seconds causing 2k arcane damage to the caster.  Casting multiple spells while the debuff is active will cause multiple backlashes!
  • Backlash (?) –  While I think it is OK to just track chilled to the bone for the melee and not the permeating chill itself, the mechanics of the caster debuff seem to favor knowing when someone has unchained magic, as opposed to backlash.  But I am not positive on that, and I am also not positive that backlash will show in GRID.  I will probably add both my first night looking at her, and then remove what I feel is not needed. 
  • Frost Beacon – This will be important for the entire raid to know!  This will mark 5 players with the beacon and after 7 seconds they will be Ice Tombed (and everyone else needs to be away from them!).
  • Ice Tomb – This will cause ~16k frost damage to the target, and while they are imprisioned they will suffer 8% of their maximum health via “asphyxiation”.  Help!  Need heals!
  • Asphyxiation (?) – I think probably just knowing who is in the Ice Tomb will be sufficient for knowing who is asphyxiated, but this will likely also be an option of debuffs to track!
  • Mystic Buffet (?) – this is a phase 3 ability of Sindragosa’s that is applied to all players within line of sight of Sindragosa every 5 seconds.  Healers and raid leaders may want to track this to see how many stacks people have to determine who is going to need a little extra heal love, and who needs to go stand behind an ice tomb to drop their stacks.

When I have an extra minute or two, I will see what I can dig up in the extremely limited information available for The Lich King, and give my best guess as to what we will need to know for that fight!

I will adjust these after I have had some experience with the fight, and know more about what works and what doesn’t!  And as always, any feedback that you might have from your experiences is helpful, and I will add updates on things that you find.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Posted February 2, 2010 by Beruthiel in Grid, Ice Crown Citadel, Uncategorized